My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tina is having a rough week

Tina was in the frank breech position while in utero.  Because of this, she has a mild case of hip dysplasia.  While it doesn't bother her now, if left untreated, she'll be prone to arthritis and other ailments as she grows older.  So we're treating it.  It means strapping her into a Pavlik harness for 6 weeks.

I hate this thing.  It makes changing her diaper and her onesie a royal pain in the ass.  You have to thread the tab of the diaper under two straps (the back looks like the front so there's a second strap on each leg that you can't see in the picture) and the onesie, well you can see the issue there.  We're really not supposed to take the darned thing off at all and she has to wear a onesie underneath it to keep it from rubbing on her.

Of course the baby that spits up almost constantly is the one we now have to figure out how to keep clean.  If the harness gets soiled, we're supposed to spot clean it while still on the baby.  We can take it off long enough to launder it about once a week, but only if we have to.  Obviously our goal is to prevent the harness or the onesie from getting spit up on it so that we don't have to change the outfit very often.  Tina now has a wardrobe of tshirts and dresses that can go on over the harness to catch spit ups.

So that was Wednesday.   She was fine all of Thursday, but Friday evening she began a hunger strike.  She just refused to eat anything.  She would scream when given the bottle and would prefer to cough and choke rather than swallow what did drip into her mouth.  We tried taking off the harness and massaging her legs in case they had fallen asleep and that was pissing her off but no change.  We tried thawing some old breastmilk in case she was pissed off at something I ate recently, no change.  The girl just wasn't eating.  

After about 12 hours, Saturday late morning, we called the doctor and they wanted to see her that afternoon.  Shortly after making the appointment, she let out an epic poo and we hoped the problem was solved.  Nope, still wouldn't eat.  

At this point, we're a little nervous about dehydration.  And I remember that with a cat I once had, when I got her she was so starved that she wouldn't eat either.  You know how when you're desperately hungry, eating kind of makes you sick?  I fear that's what's happening with Tina at this point so we get a syringe and start force feeding her a few drops.  The word "force" sounds so rough, but it's not.  We would squirt a couple of drops into her cheek or near the back of her mouth and hope some would get down her throat.  Most of it ended up oozing back out her mouth though.  

I get the girls packed up and off to the pediatrician we go.  We head back and I hear her smacking her lips like she's hungry.  So I offer her a bottle to demonstrate for the doctor how she's refusing to eat, and she slurps the thing down making me look like hysterical mommy who calls the doctor for every stupid thing.  The little jerk!  The force feeding appears to have kept her hydrated and by getting a few drops in her, we may have stimulated her appetite.

So this morning, happy baby!  She eats her breakfast and she's showing me her biggest smiles and giggles.  I decide to trim her nails since she's been clawing my cleavage for a couple of days now.  I think you know where I'm going with this.  Yup, I clipped the end of her thumb.  Smiling baby becomes screaming and crying baby, which in turn creates a crying mama, and little spots of blood are getting everywhere her thumb touches.  I don't know what to do because it's a minor cut and any kind of cleanser or antiseptic I put on it is just going to hurt and make her scream more and it will eventually end up in her mouth.  K puts a mitten over her hand and cleans up the various little blood spots on her onesie and bouncy chair.

So there she sits right now.  Harness holding her little legs in the air, mitten over one hand, sleeping with a scowl of betrayal on her face.  I'm going to eat chocolate.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Definition : Takai

A Takai - When a diaper change is so epic, you exclaim "oh my!"

One easy night

Just feel the need to record this so that when I'm frustrated later, I can look back and know that we did have one easy night.

Last night, both girls went down without a fight around 11pm and went right to sleep.  And so did we.  They didn't wake us up until 6:30am.

At just over 14 weeks, we had an easy time putting them down and a real solid night of sleep.  I really hope this is the beginning of a trend and not a crazy fluke.

And just for the hell of it, more pictures.  Because I'm a first time mom, and that's what we do.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Things I've Figured Out - Diaper Edition

I don't have a ton of advice about diapers, they tend to be pretty straight forward.  But here's a few odds and ends.

Cloth Diapers

We're trying to use some cloth diapers but with butts this small, it's difficult.  They are just too damned bulky for preemies.

The velcro kind fit better than the snap kind.  Most of mine are the snaps and while they look really cute, I need a good snug fit so that the Snuza alarm will be next to the skin.  Sometimes I can't get them the right amount of snug with the snaps.

If any of the cloth is peeking outside of the cover, you will have a lot of leakage.  Make sure it's all tucked in.

So far, I like the covers with kind of pockets on both ends with prefolds.  By tucking the ends of the prefold into the pocket on either end, you avoid the peeking problem.  When I was pregnant, I couldn't figure out why anyone would choose anything other than the all-in-ones, but those aren't fitting well, they take forever to dry, and if a prefold gets stained, you can easily replace it and not have to deal with all the sunning and special detergent and crap.  The kind with the pocket that's the length of the diaper - pain the ass to stuff the diaper in and make sure it's not squinching weird.  I don't even bother with the snappies when using the prefold and cover, I just tuck the prefold into the cover and put it on like a regular disposable.

Disposable Diapers

Have some.  Your babysitters will thank you.  To the environmentalists out there, the majority of the diapers causing the landfill problems are adult diapers, not baby diapers.

Fancy Schmancy = chemicals and potential diaper rash.  We've changed to the Whole Foods brand diapers and they are actually pretty cheap.  If you order by the case (300 diapers), you get 10% off.  Full price is 20 cents per diaper, so 10% off is 18 cents per diaper.

Double check that the diaper is going around the butt and that the side thing isn't going up the butt.

Diaper Rash

This has been a battle around here.  I'm not going to claim to have it figured out, but at the moment the girls seem to be clear so I'll tell you what we're doing now.  K and I are each doing something differently.  Perhaps it's the combination of the 2 methods that's working or maybe one is working and the other is being tolerated, I don't know.

Corn starch - before using this, make sure that yeast is not the issue.  If it is, corn starch will feed the yeast and make things worse.  K is wiping corn starch over the butt with a cotton ball to soak up any extra moisture.

Coconut Oil - I'm using this in place of petroleum jelly.  Apparently it has some antiseptic properties that can cure diaper rash.  I don't know if it's a cure or not, but some sort of barrier on the butt helps prevent poo from sticking, so that's how I'm using it.

Desitan - I smear this on over the coconut oil.  The combination of the two is working better than when I was using desitan alone.  It's the zinc that's the medicinal part, so the brand doesn't matter.  The stuff the doctor gave us had a 34% concentration.  I think maximum strength desitan is 40%, but I just got the generic brand and will start using that when this tube runs out.


To each their own on this one.  But in an attempt to get rid of chemicals, we've switched to shop towels which are basically thicker, softer paper towels.  Since I never used the peri-bottles for my own crotch cleaning, I keep them filled with water at the diaper station.  Rip a shop towel into 4, wet one and use that for basic cleaning, use another to blot the butt dry (even if you think it's dry, blot it anyway to make sure), then another one for applying the coconut oil and desitan.

Set up and Safety

EVERYTHING WITHIN REACH!  In the safety class we took, he said the most common baby injury is when the parent realizes the wipes are a few feet away and they take 3 steps to get them while the baby rolls off the counter.  If it's not within reach, pick up the baby and take it with you those 3 steps to retrieve whatever you need to retrieve.

The safety straps on the diaper changing pad are pointless.  You'll never actually bother to strap the kid in, and I would think it's more of a strangulation hazard than an actual safety measure.  Besides, if you're leaving the baby long enough that you want to strap them in, you're leaving the baby too long.

I don't know what they're called, but I got a collection of water proof cloths about the size of wash cloths.  I thought they were just small burp cloths, but they are actually for diaper changing.  Put a stack of them under the babies butt to catch the inevitable pee and poo that happens during a diaper change.  Then just toss the top one into the laundry and put the butt back down on the clean cloth underneath.  Another option is chux.  These are the pads that you probably sat on during OB appointments.  They have a million uses so I recommend getting them in bulk.  Choose the size that works best for you.

Our changing table is a dresser.  Easy to keep stuff within reach and will serve a purpose when diaper changing days are over.

Put a mobile over the changing pad.  Sometimes it distracts the baby and ends the crying.

Here's my set up.  We bought a house with a wet bar built in and as non-drinkers, never had a use for it until now.  Now we're spending a great deal of our day behind that bar.  I really like the U shape of the station because it keeps a ton of stuff within reach.

From left to right - swaddles ready to put a baby in, extra diapers, stack of chux (can't really see them) coconut oil, mobile, changing pad on top of the dresser, cloth diaper instructions on the wall, shop towels, water filled peri bottles, corn starch, a few extra products on the shelf.  Not pictured - diaper pail on the floor to the right, laundry basket goes behind the peri-bottles on the left, and a sink.

In the top drawer of the dresser.

Disposable diapers, onesies, jammies, cloth diapers.  The drawers below store more diapers and wipes, and changing pad covers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Random Things I've Figured Out - Clothing Edition

Today's episode of random things I've figured out about having newborns is centered around clothing and fabric in general.

Some things don't need to be folded.  Onesies, jammies, and burp cloths can just lie flat so you don't have to fuss with unfolding them when you want to grab and use them.

Baby Clothes

Don't buy any until everybody you've ever met who's ever had children has had a chance to give you their hand me downs and gifts.  I've received the entire wardrobes of 3 relatives, one generous internet friend, and enough random gifts from neighbors, friends of my parents, and other relatives to outfit an army of infants.  I have two brand new packages of onesies that the girls are going to outgrow soon that haven't even been opened yet.

Most onesies are designed to go on either over the head or from the bottom up.  I hate pulling things over the babies faces so I pull the neck over the butt instead.

Sort the clothing by size and put the piles out of the way.  Dig through the next size up every week or two and pull out what looks like it will fit now and what you'll actually put on the kid.

Baby clothes sizes make about as much sense as women's clothing sizes.  Some measure by age, others by pounds.  I find that the manufacturers have a really odd sense of how big a baby of a certain weight actually is.  I don't like to have to tug at clothing, especially when you practically have to twist a baby arm to get it into the armhole, so I prefer clothing that claims to be made for babies about 2lbs larger than my babies currently are.

Why do they even make separates for babies?  Tops just squinch up around the neck and pants make changing diapers a pain.  And with pants, you need socks, so there's two more little items to get kicked and pulled off when you don't want them to.  No, you want onesies and footie pajamas.

Yes, you can have too many onesies.  At some point, something you want back will be in the laundry basket and you'll do a load of laundry in order to retrieve it and your clean onesie supply will be replenished.

Expect to do a load of laundry every day.  I'm hardly wearing any clothing and what I am wearing, I'm wearing for a few days at a time, and yet I'm doing laundry every day.  Partially because it's the one chore that's done almost entirely by machines so it's something I can accomplish in 5 minutes whereas other chores require a larger time commitment that I don't have.  I want to accomplish SOMETHING by the end of the day, so laundry is what I go for.

If it's just so friggin adorable, put it on the baby and take pictures.  Odds are, that's the only time the kid will wear it so get that accomplished immediately.

If it's not within reach, they'll never wear it.


To some extent, pretty much all of the styles work.  The Woombie brand runs really small.  It says up to 11lbs, but no, we had trouble zipping them up by 8lbs.


Changing sheets on the crib is a pain in the ass.  Get those waterproof bed protector things.  Put all your sheets on the crib, layering with those bed protectors in between.  Then you can just remove one layer when the sheets get wet and not have to struggle to get another sheet on when you want to put a baby to bed.

The mattress in our bassinet is about the same size as a pillow case.  I'm using king sized pillow cases as sheets in that and just putting the mattress inside as if it were a pillow.

Tip from my cousin that I haven't tried yet - he said that his little one would fuss as soon as the head hit the bed until they changed to more of a jersey or flannel sheet.  Apparently the regular sheets were cold.  I have summer babies so cold hasn't been an issue for me yet, but I leave that tip for those of you with winter babies.

Burping and Feeding Cloths

You can't have too many burping cloths.  Once a baby spits up, they like to rub their faces in it, and then spit up again.  I can go through several cloths per burping session because I try to take away the icky cloth before the kid gets the icky all over them.

Cloth diapers make good burp cloths.  Get a big stack from your local consignment store or value village or something.

The bigger the burp cloth, the better.  K likes to use a full towel.  Personally, I don't like to use up that much laundry space for one spot of ick, but he's got a point.

My cousin gave us some Muslin Burpy Bibs that kind of fit over the shoulder and around your neck.  They cost more than I'd like to spend myself, but I do find myself doing laundry to get these back and they are the first ones I reach for.  I've only used them on my own shoulder, I haven't tried having a baby wear one like shown in some of the pictures.

Those really flimsy wash cloths are great for shoving into the babies necks when they eat.  Thicker ones, like the ones you use for baths, those can't get close enough to the skin to really catch all the dribbles.  I've bought several packs of these myself because Tina is such a juicy eater.  For newborns, bibs don't do a whole lot.  You need to really shove something deep into the neck to catch the dribbles before they get into all those neck folds.  I got some of these in the baby aisle of the drugstore.

Mom's Clothes

Leggings and yoga pants.  I'm a jeans person, but ever since the pregnancy I want to be in pajama like clothing all the time.  I got to my pre pregnancy weight almost immediately and my pre pregnancy weight is actually about 15lbs lower than the weight I was at in the years prior to that summer, so most of my clothing is too big for me and yet I still don't want to be in anything that might be at all constricting.  Besides, I sleep at such odd times now that just climbing into bed in what I'm wearing is better than changing into jammies.  Also, if you're a nightgown person, well you're going to be getting up in the middle of the night to pump or nurse, and you'll want to keep your lower half covered so you don't get cold.  Sleeping in leggings and a bra seems to be the best way to go nowadays.

Cheap sports bras.  Good for sleeping and can be converted into hands free pumping bras.

Consider adding a zipper to the front of those things that you wear around the house like solid tshirts or nightgowns.

It's gonna get puked on.  Spend your money accordingly.

You're going to find yourself going out in public in clothing you never would have been seen in before.  I used to never inflict leggings on the public or shorts when I haven't shaved my legs.  I've done both now.  But ya know what?  If other people noticed, I didn't notice them noticing so it doesn't matter.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Random things I've figured out - Booby, Bottles, and Burping Edition

This is just going to be a big list of random odds and ends that I've figured out in my first 12 weeks of parenting newborn twins.  Some of this will be twin or preemie specific, some will just be tips about newborns in general.  I'll also tell you guys what products worked for us, and what we thought were pure crap.  I can only leave info about the stuff I'm doing so this is based on someone who tried nursing but is now exclusively pumping and bottle feeding them breast milk, I'm generally caring for the babies alone during the day while my husband is at work, and we are pretty strict about following medical guidelines when it comes to choices like not co-sleeping and vaccinating.

This got really long, really fast, so I'm splitting this into different posts about different topics.  Today - all about feeding babies and managing your boobies.

I'm using links to Amazon when I mention products so if you can't see something, your ad blocking software might be wiping those links out.

So here we go - tips, tricks, and observations!


Try every brand.  For Tina, the Dr. Browns work really well because she pushes with her tongue a lot and other nipples are too mushy.  The wide neck Dr. Browns allow her to really get her mouth around the nipple and she pushes less of the milk out the sides of her mouth as she does with the thin Dr. Browns or other bottles.  Charlotte, on the other hand, gets bad gas and is hard to burp.  She does better with a softer nipple that conforms to the shape of her mouth so she's good with Tommee Tippee's.  Both do pretty well with the Playtex Nursers.

If you go with Playtex Nursers, buy extra nipples.  That's really the only part that needs to be washed between every use so if you have extras, you can quickly make up a new bottle if you're behind on the dishes.  I have the box of drop-ins taped to the side of my fridge as a make shift drop-in dispenser.  Saves counter space and I can grab a fresh one with one hand.

If you hear a sucking noise when they're eating, try lightly pressing on the cheek to help seal the lips around the nipple.  They'll take in less air and less air = less gas.

When they start to suck so hard that they collapse the nipple, it's time to move up to the next level of nipple.

Keep a bucket of soapy water in the sink.  Dismantle and toss all of your bottle and pumping parts into that as soon as the kid(s) done eating.  Breast milk is greasy and will stick to the sides of bottles, so sometimes the dishwasher doesn't get it all.  If things are kept wet all the time, the milk won't get a chance to stick and washing will be a lot easier.

We warm our bottles by filling a large cup with hot water and dropping it in there.  Like the kind that they make milkshakes in at restaurants.

Swirl, don't shake to mix the bottle.  Shaking introduces air bubbles and air bubbles in the milk = air bubbles in the tummy.


You don't need to buy a ton of pumping bottles and parts if you keep the bottles and connector thingies intact in the fridge.  Keep two or three sets and then just wash and sanitize one set every day or so.  This will reduce your dish washing immensely.

Do get extra flanges.  I have three sets that are the right size and I'm constantly washing them.  I don't mind keeping the bottles in the fridge, but the flanges would be mighty uncomfy if they were cold all the time.

Invest in 2 hands free bras (because you gotta do laundry eventually).  Your pumping time might be the only time you actually sit down for 20 minutes, so have your hands available to eat or play at the computer.

Make hands free bras from old sports bras.  Put on the bra, mark where your nipple actually falls within the bra when worn comfortably.  Sew a horizontal rectangle, about an inch long, like a button hole, with the mark in the middle.  Cut the fabric in between the sewing lines to make the hole for the flanges.  If you just cut a hole, it will fray and get bigger over time, but doing it this way keeps the hole relatively flat against the breast so you don't have a raggedy frame of your nipple showing through your tshirt.

If it feels like pump is pulling your nipple off, or chaffing horribly, try a larger flange.  Your boob is probably getting squeezed too tight into a flange that's too small for you.

Pumping will get faster.  I used to take 25-30 minutes to empty out.  It now takes about 15, even when I've gone several hours between pumps.  This is a recent development.

Keep a bucket or drawer full of food and water bottles where ever you set up your pumping station.  It's only when you sit down that you realize you're hungry or that you left your water on the other side of the room but by then you'll be all hooked up and not really able to move.  Tissues will also come in handy for a variety of uses.  It also makes hand washing that one item you need right now really convenient.

Pointing a light of some sort at the flanges so you can see the streams of milk coming out - everybody does it, you're not weird.

Boobs in General

If you start getting lumpy spots, press those really hard when pumping.  Those are the beginning of clogged ducts and the sooner you unclog them, the happier a camper you'll be because you don't want mastitis.  As soon as they start, massage that area hard when pumping, nursing, or hand expressing in the shower.  They can hurt like hell, but it will hurt worse if you do nothing.  When pumping or in the shower, if you really press on those from a variety of different directions, and I mean press so hard that you want to cry, you can work them out pretty quickly.  But sometimes you suddenly unclog something and it just squirts a ton out really fast, so I dunno if you can do that while nursing.

Keep a manual pump in the car.  Otherwise you'll one day find yourself leaning over a toilet in a restaurant milking yourself like a cow to relieve pressure when you've been away from home too long.  You can't always plug something in, so a cheap manual pump in the car is a good thing to have.

Your boobs will calm down in time.  I'm an over producer and I was having all sorts of leaking and hardening issues in the beginning.  I'm now at about 12 weeks and I've cut back on how many times I pump every day (every 4 hours or so) and I massage while I pump to prevent hard spots.  I hardly ever leak anymore and can go a few extra hours if need be.  If my pumping schedule is at odds with my schedule for the day, I'll hand express in the shower before going out to buy myself an extra hour or two.  But again, I produce so much that I can afford to see some milk go down the drain.

If you want to take a break from bras, get a pair of Lilypadz.  The adhesive wears out pretty quickly so I only wear them once in a while because they are expensive.  But I'd prefer not to leak all over K during sexy time, so these allow me to feel naked without having to worry about being icky.

Keep an extra bra and shirt in your car.  This is just good advice in general.  If you don't leak and soak yourself from within, a baby will likely puke down your cleavage and soak you from outside.

Feeding Babies and Burping in General

For twins, you really need a way to feed both at the same time.  I have no advice for those who are nursing, but for the billionth time, I'm showing off the double feeding station I created out of an old bassinet that we were given.  Anything to hold both kids safely that you can reach while sitting on the couch will make your life so much easier.

I am often paralyzed by indecision - both are done eating and both need to be burped, but I can only properly burp one at a time.  I've started laying one baby tummy down on a boppy with a burp cloth while burping the second one.  Being on the tummy will sometimes cause the baby to self burp and if not, it will still help work the bubbles up so when you can burp her, it's much faster.

You can also lay one tummy down across your knees while burping the other on your shoulder.  Lightly bounce the knee that's under the tush to encourage some bubbles to work themselves out and rub or pat the back from time to time.

Rotate the baby every which way.  Over the shoulder, laying flat on the back, laying on the tummy, folding them in half by pushing the knees into the chest, back over the shoulder, etc.  Remember that the bubbles are in a tube that twists and turns throughout the baby so sometimes you need to move the baby every which way to get the bubbles to float up and around various loop de loops.

Sometimes it helps to lightly massage the tummy.

Cover your couch with towels or something.  Spit ups will often go over your shoulder and into the nooks and crannies of the couch.  Laundry is a lot easier than steam cleaning and if you don't clean it pretty quickly, you'll be living with the smell of sour milk for the rest of your life.

A tip from K - buy your man an extra pack of tshirts.  Somehow the girls manage to move every burp cloth he tries and get his shirt instead.  He's kind of given up on burp cloths and just expects to change his shirt after a feeding.

Keep dozens of burp cloths piled up unfolded on the back of your couch for easy reach.  Don't even bother finding another place to store them, this is where they'll be used and reached for, and this is where they'll end up anyway.

My boobs are usually a bit sore and I don't really like holding a baby against them.  I do kind of a football hold with the baby in my armpit and bring the head up to my shoulder from there so I can still do the basic over the shoulder hold, but without so much pressure against my chest.  This also keeps the babies body more vertical, it's so easy for the baby to go horizontal when laying on your chest the normal way and vertical is better for burping.

Another tool to keep in the fridge -Dr. Brown's Formula Mixing Pitcher.  Even if you're going with straight breast milk, it will separate in the fridge and you'll need to mix it before serving.  We mix in Neosure with the breast milk because our girls were preemies and need the extra calories, so used a sharpie to mark lines on the side of the pitcher at 18oz, 27oz and 36oz.  We mix in one tablespoon of Neosure for every 9oz, and these lines on the pitcher make it easier to know how much to add when making up batches in bulk.

By the way, preemie parents - if you were told to mix the breastmilk to the 24 calorie ratio, or one teaspoon for every 90ml, that equals 1 tablespoon for every 9oz.  30ml = approximately 1oz and 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon.  My babies have generally eaten about 18oz a day for a long time, so you can mix up an 18oz batch with 2 tablespoons of Neosure.  I'm hoping leaving that little bit of math here will save you some mental energy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's getting better

Things are starting to improve around here.  I've gone off the prozac and am now on a very low dose of zoloft.  But I've only been on it for a couple of days so I don't know if it's the medication making me feel better, or if the girls are just getting easier.  Probably a little of both.

Tina is really starting to reactively smile.  It's still rare enough that I feel the need to capture photographic evidence of the smiles, but yesterday I was able to get some by tickling her tummy.  Charlotte is still a bit distant and not all that into me though.

We're starting to get more sleep.  A couple of nights ago, Charlotte slept 9 straight hours and only Tina was up for feedings.  It looks like she's doing the same now (it's 9am and she's still asleep at the moment).  Tina slept about 7 of those same hours last night so K and I both got a little over 6 solid hours of sleep.

And Charlotte demonstrated a new trick during tummy time, 3 roll overs in a row!  This is roll over number 3.

One thing I've learned - the best camera is the one you'll reach for.  I have some really nice cameras in the house, but they are rarely within reach, so I'm getting a lot of shots on my cell phone.  Sure, they aren't the best pictures, but a crappy picture you take is better than the excellent picture you don't!

I've also downloaded the app "fast burst".  It takes a ton of pictures really quickly so I can go back and find the ones that look good and throw out the rest.  It's really good for capturing those fleeting moments of smile.  Here's a series of pictures I took, and one of them is a real keeper (obviously I kept all of them anyway).


But a good camera has its uses.  I decided to do a bit of a photo shoot with a nice camera to try to get a picture for printing and sharing.  Here's the best pic I've taken of the girls to date.

And of course, they can't all be winners.

So that's my big tip of the day.  Take a ton of pictures, learn how to use the burst mode on your camera or download an app so you can do burst on your cell phone.  You can throw out the crap and just keep that one gold picture, but the odds of taking that golden picture when you take individual photos at a time are kind of slim.